Day Care and Schooling
If you are moving to Finland with your spouse/partner and family, it is important to carefully consider the practical arrangements for the family members, so that they would also have a fulfilling and productive stay in Finland. The following information is intended to help make the transition to Finland as smooth as possible for new staff members and their families.
In accordance with Finnish law, all children aged between 0 to 6 years of age living in Finland are entitled to municipal day care. Part-time and full-time day care is provided by day care centres (päiväkoti) or family day care providers (perhepäivähoito). There are also some open early childhood education services (avoimet varhaiskasvatuspalvelut) which include club or park activities for a couple of hours two times a week. Day care fees are determined on the basis of the parents' income and the size of the family. Maximum fees are about 290 € per month (2017).
A day care place for a child can be applied for at anytime of the year. Applications should be submitted four months before the desired start of the day care. For day care applications, please see:
Savonlinna (in Finnish only)
International day care in the UEF campus towns:
The English Kindergarten of Joensuu
englanninkielinenleikkikoulu (at) gmail.com
The English Kindergarten of Kuopio
Tulliportinkatu 37 H
Linnala play school (Linnalan leikkikoulu) – some of the activities in English
Tuula Pölönen, tel 358 44 3511 825, email: tuula.polonen(at)linnala.fi
Kirsi Kohonen, tel 358 40 680 3802, email: kirsi.kohonen(at)linnala
All six-year-olds have the right to voluntary pre-school education (minedu.fi) before the compulsory education begins at the age of seven. The objective of pre-school education is to support the child's preparedness for school and to practice the basic knowledge and skills that he/she will need at school.
Pre-school education is usually offered at day care centres. The English and German Kindergartens also offer pre-school education. Preschool education is offered on school days (Monday to Friday). The operating periods and holidays are the same as those at comprehensive schools. Instruction is given four hours per day. Pre-school education is free of charge. If a family needs child care in addition to preschool, partial day care fees are charged.
If you are moving to Finland with school-aged (7-16) children, education is compulsory for them. Comprehensive education (minedu.fi) begins during the year when the child turns seven and ends when all courses have been completed, or 10 years have elapsed from the beginning of the compulsory education.
Lower stage comprehensive school takes six years, classes 1-6, and upper stage comprehensive school comprises years 7-9. Basic education including textbooks, tools etc. is free of charge. In addition, pupils are offered a free daily meal.
Bilingual schools and preparatory education
In eastern Finland, basic education is usually arranged in Finnish but there are certain schools that offer bilingual teaching. All comprehensive school age children (7 - 17 year olds), who have recently moved to Finland and cannot get by in the Finnish language, are entitled to preparatory education. This allows pupils to get acquainted with Finnish schooling, its customs and teaching methods. Immigrant pupils are also entitled to get education in their own language for a couple of hours a week. Pupils can also learn Finnish as a second language in some schools. Information leaflets on education for immigrants is available in several languages at: http://www.oph.fi/english/publications/brochures
Allocation of a school and enrolment
The child is usually allocated a place in a school near where you live or in some other suitable place, which makes school travel as short and safe as possible. The local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas. The parent(s) can also, for a justified reason, apply for a place in a school other than the child's nearest school. The child can be admitted to the school if there are places available. If there are more applicants than available places, certain qualification criteria will be applied. Please note that in this case the parent(s) are responsible for covering any possible school transportation costs.
Typically, a child needs to be enrolled to start school (first graders) in late January or early February. If your child is at a higher grade or you move to Finland during the school year, please contact the education department in your city.
City of Joensuu, Education department
Torikatu 21 C, 3rd floor, 80100 Joensuu
Tel. 358 13 267 7111
City of Kuopio, Education department
Perusopetus (Basic education)
Vuorikatu 27, 70100 Kuopio
Tel. 358 17 184 111
Head of Education
Tel. +358 44 417 4203
Fees and curriculum
Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by the municipalities in Finland (local government). There are few private schools. Public schools are uniformly of a high quality. The local or school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. As a rule, all teachers have a Master's level university degree. There is, however, relatively little extracurricular activity, and children's free-time activities are often quite separate from those during the school day.
The school year begins in mid-August and ends in late May or early June. The school year is interrupted by several vacations: Fall break (sometime in October), Christmas vacation, winter vacation (typically week 10 in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna), and Easter break. Students attend school Monday through Friday.
Joensuu -schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English or Finnish-Russian)
Kanervala School (age group 7-13)
Principal Iris Kinnunen
Tel + 358 50 439 0380
Lyseon peruskoulu (age group 13-16)
Principal Anna Renko
Tel. + 358 50 540 3552
The Finnish-Russian School of Eastern Finland (age group 7-16)
Leading principal Petri Kyyrä
Tel: +358 40 594 5336
Joensuun lyseon lukio ( General upper-secondary school, age group 16-19), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
All schools in Joensuu (in Finnish):
Schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English) in Kuopio:
IB-coordinator Suvi Tirkkonen
Tel. +358 (0)44-7184568